Pep Guardiola eyes big-money transfer swoop for Arsenal flop Ismael Bennacer

Pep Guardiola has reportedly spoken to Arsenal flop Ismael Bennacer over a £50million move to Manchester City.

The AC Milan midfielder has starred in Serie A after winning the Best Young Player award at last summer's Africa Cup of Nations.

After joining the Gunners in 2015, Bennacer made just one first-team appearance during a two-year spell at the Emirates.

But he kick-started his career after signing for Empoli in 2017, going on to impress for Algeria last summer before a switch to the San Siro in August.

Bennacer has continued to catch the eye since then and could now earn a big-money move to City, where he would line up alongside his fellow Algeria international Riyad Mahrez.

City need to inject fresh blood into their ageing squad, having been left in Liverpool's slipstream as Jurgen Klopp's side surged towards the Premier League title this season.

And boss Guardiola has already spoken to Bennacer to outline where he fits into his plans for City's resurgence, according to RMC.

Bennacer is believed to be open to a move back to the Premier League, having credited the likes of former Arsenal team-mates Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla with having a major impact on his career.

"I arrived in England in July 2015, then stayed in a hotel for the first two months because I didn’t want to live with a family I didn’t know," Bennacer told La Gazzetta dello Sport magazine Sportweek.

"I was 17 years old and couldn’t live on my own, so my sister came to live with me, then the girl I’d been dating since school who in England would go on to become my wife.

"Finally, in September, I got some time on the pitch, but I was thrown on after two other injuries against Sheffield, played wide left in a trident attack, which I had never done before.

"I felt incredible pressure and wasn’t sure what was going on. I never played again after that, but I have no regrets, as I still got to train with important players like Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla."

While Bennacer has no ill feeling towards Arsenal, he said he had to leave in order to get his career back on track.

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"I had four years left on the Arsenal contract, but I had to be at a club where they really wanted me," he said.

"I didn’t know Empoli, but I accepted a move down from the Premier League to Serie B because they were the club who wanted me the most.

"I did the same when deciding on Milan – I chose them for their history too, but also because it was the best project for me."

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